Occasionally, something said at the office will remind me of the lyrics to a song.
Much to the chagrin of staff members, I will often start singing, too.
Last week, it wasn’t something said that stirred up a song. It was something seen.
Jim Stafford, in the 1970s, “I don’t like spiders and snakes.”
On Tuesday, Lazandra, who was working in the back shop, came running up front.
“Mr. Barry, Mr. Barry, Mr. Barry come, come, come kill this snake,” she said in a frightened voice.
“Where is it?” I asked.
“Out back, by the door” she said. “Kacie (another part-time employee) almost stepped on it. It almost bit her.”
We don’t have a hoe at the office, or a shovel. I went next door and asked Lincoln at South Center Printing if he had anything we could use to kill a snake.
He came up with a long piece of pipe.
By the time we got outside, the ladies had watched the snake go behind the air-conditioning unit, in some weeds.
After some discussion, we decided to leave it alone for the time being.
The ladies in the back, who definitely do not like snakes, kept a pretty constant eye out for this one.
Like 30 minutes later, I was beckoned again.
“Mr. Barry, Mr. Barry, it’s back by the door again,” Lazandra said.
Sure enough, it was stretched out full length, almost up against the back wall of the building.
I went back over to Lincoln, and we took the “snake-killing tool” around behind the snake.
Lincoln took some swings at it first, and it made a slight move toward the back door, where the ladies were watching. They screamed and went back inside – briefly.
Then I took my turn.
We killed the snake, a long one.
It certainly eased the minds of my back-shop workers. And I certainly did not want one of them coming into work early the next morning and stepping on a snake.
I am certainly no snake expert. I’ve killed them in my yard here in Holly Springs. A neighbor and I killed one on the kitchen floor in a house Pam and I lived in at Fulton.
I saw more growing up in rural Marion County, Ala.
My dad died when I was 10, but I remember him not killing certain snakes, particularly rat snakes. We had a small barn out back, where we stored food for our animals, and those rat snakes took care of any mice.
I do remember, very well, him killing a rattlesnake.
And I’ve seen water moccasins and other venomous snakes.
Contrary to my dad’s teaching, to me, a snake is a snake. I don’t like them – period.
After studying it closer, while it was dead, the snake Lincoln and I killed last week outside The South Reporter building appeared to be a rat snake.
As it turns out, Lincoln’s son Clifford had seen the same snake near one of the buildings next door.
Maybe this particular snake just wanted to hang out around newspapers and the printing business.
I walked back into the office after dumping the dead snake, and immediately it came to my mind – “I don’t like spiders and snakes.”